R11 Review: Sydney seven clear after Victory wins derby
By Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com
HAL Round Review
Unbeaten Hyundai A-League leaders Sydney FC are seven points clear of their nearest rivals after Melbourne Victory came from behind to down Melbourne City 2-1 in a lively derby at AAMI Park, leapfrogging the vanquished side into second place in the process.
24,706 fans were on hand to witness the latest torrid tussle in this stirring rivalry, the deadlock broken by City’s Tim Cahill on the quarter-hour, although such were his celebrations that a head cut meant he returned to the action with a bandaged bonce!
It was the Victory fans who were celebrating in the 24th minute, Marco Rojas levelling the scores in a match which saw Besart Berisha miss some great opportunities prior to the half-time whistle.
The Albanian wasn’t to be denied a record-equalling ninetieth A-League goal on this occasion, however, Berisha’s strike twelve minutes from time drawing him level with former team-mate Archie Thompson but, more importantly for Melbourne Victory’s fans, earning them bragging rights on a night their team came from behind to go second on the table.
Leaders Sydney also came from behind as they trounced Perth Glory 4-1 at NIB Stadium, where the 9,119-strong crowd saw visiting ‘keeper Danny Vukovic pull off a number of vital saves – a one-handed denial from Rostyn Griffiths, in particular, stunned the masses.
He was beaten once, however, Adam Taggart’s goal opening the scoring in the contest, only for Alex Brosque to reply straight away for the league leaders to leave the scores tied half-way through the first half.
The deadlock was broken just after the hour mark by an exquisite Filip Holosko header, and Bobo made the game safe for Sydney ten minutes later before Bernie Ibini-Isei potted a stoppage time penalty to give the visitors victory by a flattering scoreline – but for Vukovic’s efforts, Perth would have been a lot closer to their rivals on the scoreboard come the final whistle.
Brisbane Roar also took advantage of City’s derby demise, leapfrogging them thanks to a 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners in front of 6,063 fans at Central Coast Stadium, where Jamie Maclaren struck the winner fourteen minutes from time.
Jack Hingert rattled the post for the visitors before Dimitri Petratos broke the deadlock via a free-kick just after the half-hour mark. But twelve minutes into the second spell, Central Coast drew level through Roy O’Donovan, who had penalty claims turned down half-way through the first half.
Brisbane’s response, twenty minutes later, proved decisive, and left the four leading teams from Australia’s eastern seaboard well clear of the chasing pack, with the gap between table-topping Sydney and fifth-placed Newcastle Jets a whopping fifteen points, even at this stage of the season.
It’s safe to say the Novocastrians’ goalkeeper, Jack Duncan, owes team-mate Morten Nordstrand his win bonus this week, after the Dane’s last-gasp goal clinched a 2-1 victory for the home team over Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Duncan had punched an Isaias free-kick into his own net half-way through the second half to level the scores, after Andrew Nabbout had opened the scoring on the half-hour to the delight of the 5,642 fans present.
The reigning champions could have scored prior to that goal, with Iacopo La Rocca hitting the post after Duncan had saved Sergio Cirio’s third minute effort. Andrew Hoole hit the post in the dying minutes for the home team, but just when it looked like a stalemate would be the outcome, up popped Nordstrand to leave Adelaide firmly entrenched in last place.
That win allowed Newcastle to edge ahead of Perth and Western Sydney Wanderers on goal difference, after the league’s draw specialists bottled a two-goal lead in being held to a 2-2 draw by Wellington Phoenix in front of a disappointing 5,702-strong turn-out at Mt. Smart Stadium.
The visitors silenced the natives when Brendon Santalab volleyed home from a corner in the nineteenth minute, and forced a couple of saves from Glen Moss before the half-time break.
Eleven minutes after it, they doubled their advantage through Mitch Nicholls, but a tactical change brought dividends for Wellington, who got back in the game via a Guilherme Finkler penalty six minutes later.
Moss then saved a Dimas penalty before Marco Rossi prevented Nicholls from restoring Wests’ two-goal advantage, as he looked to take advantage of Moss’ absence from between the sticks sixty seconds later.
The helter-skelter nature of the second spell enjoyed another twist when Roy Krishna headed home a controversial equaliser in the 68th minute, Costa Barbarouses having cleared handled the ball in the build-up.
It was one of a handful of eyebrow-raising calls made by referee Peter Green in the last half-hour, two of which saw him wave away the visitors’ strong claims for both a free-kick and a penalty in the final minutes as Wests recorded their sixth draw from eleven matches.
The Christmas round of action kicks off on Friday evening with Brisbane welcoming Western Sydney to Suncorp Stadium. There are two games on Boxing Day, with Wellington heading to McDonald Jones Stadium to take on Newcastle prior to the clash of bottom and top as Adelaide entertain Sydney at Coopers Stadium.
The final two games of the round take place at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, where City and Perth meet on Tuesday, twenty-four hours before Victory and Central Coast clash.
And as another year draws to a close, it just remains for me to wish all readers a Merry Christmas.
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (R. O’Donovan (57)) – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (D. Petratos (33), J. Maclaren (76)); HT 0-1
Melbourne City FC 1 (T. Cahill (16)) – Melbourne Victory FC 2 (M. Rojas (24), B. Berisha (78)); HT 1-1
Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (A. Nabbout (29), M. Nordstrand (90)) – Adelaide United 1 FC (“oggie” (68)); HT 1-0
Perth Glory FC 1 (A. Taggart (20)) – Sydney FC 4 (A. Brosque (21), F. Holosko (61), Bobo (71), B. Ibini-Isei (90 pen)); HT 1-1
Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (G. Finkler (62 pen), R. Krishna (68)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (B. Santalab (19), M. Nicholls (56)); HT 0-1
P W D L F A GD Pts
Sydney FC 11 8 3 0 25 5 +20 27
Melbourne Victory 10 6 2 2 22 11 +11 20
Brisbane Roar 11 5 5 1 15 11 +4 20
Melbourne City 11 5 3 3 17 13 +4 18
Newcastle Jets 11 3 3 5 13 16 -3 12
Perth Glory 11 3 3 5 18 23 -5 12
Western Sydney Wanderers 11 2 6 3 15 21 -6 12
Wellington Phoenix 10 3 1 6 11 16 -5 10
Central Coast Mariners 11 2 3 6 11 22 -11 9
Adelaide United 11 1 3 7 10 19 -9 6
Other review information
W-League Round 7 Details
Newcastle United Jets FC 1 (Jen Hoy 84’) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Natasha Dowie 18’)
Adelaide United FC 1 (Sofia Huerta 64’) – Perth Glory FC 4 (Sam Kerr 36’, 68’, Rosie Sutton 62’, Vanessa DiBernardo 83’ pen)
Canberra United FC 5 (Nickoletta Flannery 14’, 53’, Steph Ochs 28’, Ashleigh Sykes 50’, 56’) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Emily Gielnik 92’)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Kendall Fletcher 18’, 48’ pen) – Melbourne City FC 1 (Marianna Tabain 3’)
Sydney FC – BYE
National Youth League Round 6 Details